tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg May 12, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT
announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. guest: -- charlie:m is here. he retired from the cia after 33 years of service. he played a central role in some of the most pivotal events and recent history. he was with president bush on september 11, 2001 and was in the white house situation room the day osama bin laden was killed. he writes about his experiences and counterterrorism missions in a new book called “the great war of our time: the cia's fight against terrorism from al qa'ida to isis.”
i'm pleased to have mike morell back at this table. mike: it's always great to be here. charlie: why title it "the great war of our time?" mike: this challenge we face against islamic extremism is in some ways akin to the cold war. i call it "the great war" for that reason and because of the timeframe we are talking about here. i believe my children's generation and my grandchildren's generation will still be fighting this thing. charlie: what is our goal? contain them? mike: i think it's to get to a place where it's no longer a military problem more paramilitary problem, but a law enforcement problem. when we move from the military phase to the law enforcement phase we can say victory. charlie: how do we get there? mike: we get there in two ways. one way we have talked about at this table before is one of the
real resins learned in dealing with terrorism is that you have to keep the pressure on them. when you have the pressure on them you make it difficult for them to plan, train, raise money and plot. when they have to worry about their own security, they can do less damage. that is what happens when you put the pressure on. as soon as you take the pressure off, they rebuild, they put things together again and they do that very quickly. the terrorists who already exist, you've got to keep the pressure on all the time. the other part is something we do not do very well at all and that is stop the production of new terrorists. stop the radicalization process. that is really tough to do. charlie: where is that battlefield? mike: that battlefield is in the schools in muslim countries.
it is in the mosques in muslim countries, it is in thebattlefield? homes in muslim countries. charlie: and online? mike: and online. i talk in the book about indonesia as being a place where they have had quite a bit of success in this regard with programs in schools, with programs to support programming on television and on the radio, program to support the arts, all with the message of tolerance in religion, all the message of looking at both sides of an issue. one of the interesting facts is the number of indonesians who have gone to fight in syria and iraq for isis is less than the number that have gone from the united states, canada australia. it is remarkable for the largest muslim country in the world. charlie: they are not seduced by the argument. mike: one of the things they do in school is when they talk
about the palestinian problem they are providing the palestinian respective but also the israeli perspective. this is very important for these countries to get their arms around. there is not a lot we can do about this as a country because we don't have a lot of credibility talking about these issues. charlie: it requires an accelerated effort by muslim countries. mike: by muslim leaders and leading clerics. one of the places this is starting to happen is in egypt. the president is starting to talk about the issues with his public. charlie: and king abella in jordan. i want to talk about -- king abdullah in jordan. i want to talk about the leadership. is it changing? i read that the leader of isis was injured in a strike. has that been confirmed? mike: i don't know if it is confirmed.
one of the questions that is out there is is he alive or is he dead? i think if we were dead he -- we would all know it because they would want to portray him as a great martyr. that is the president we have seen with these groups. i think he has been injured. i don't know how seriously, but i think he has been injured. this is a pretty tightknit leadership team. a lot of command and control, so taking out leadership here is really important. because it is so small and tightknit, you can do some real damage. charlie: at what level are the former iraqi generals that works for saddam hussein? mike: probably second tier. charlie: when it comes to recruitment, whose responsibility is it to fight that? what part of government should do that? mike: the state department has an effort focused on this.
it has never been particularly well-funded or particular a well resourced. for a couple of good reason. one is your first instinct of your first priority is to deal with the guys coming at you to kill you. that has to be priority number one. dealing with the longer-term radicalization always becomes the second priority. the other reason is, as i said earlier, this is not something the united date can do on its own. the best we can hope for is to put out test practices and talk to arab leaders off-line president to president, president to prime minister about what is working and what is not and organize the effort in an informal way. charlie: you seem to be an all you write and all i know from you, increasingly alarmed about the possibility of a 9/11 kind of attack whatever variation it
might be on the united states. i assume the ultimate attack would be some kind of dirty bomb or something. mike: right. i am concerned about an attack in the homeland. charlie: why are you more concerned? what makes it -- what makes you see a rising fear of that attack to mark -- of that attack? mike: the most significant threat today comes not from isis, but from al qaeda in the arabian peninsula and al qaeda in yemen. we have talked about that before because they focus on it, they have a highly skilled lawmaker who can make bombs that could be hidden in things. they are the biggest threat today. what is happening in yemen is giving them greater room to maneuver. we are having a harder time collecting intelligence, we are having a harder time denying them safe haven and taking them off the battlefield.
we are still conducting drone operations in yemen and that's a good thing as far as i'm concerned. by virtue of the civil war underway in the chaos underway in yemen, they will gain strength. they have the capability today to bring down an airliner. give them more room and they could do something more significant. isis today doesn't have the capability to conduct a significant attack. they can motivate people, they can direct small scale attacks but they will be able to do something else here. if you look at what is happening in iraq, we have taken back about 25% of the territory they took when they dig their blitzkrieg across iraq, so we are having some success. we took brak -- we took back t
ikrit, but we have had no success in syria taking back any territory. no progress in iraq, no progress in syria, so as you put increased pressure, they will come back across the border and go into syria. unless you have a plan to deal with them, they will have safe haven there and they will get stronger. charlie: what is the plan? mike: the plan at the moment is to train moderate opposition fighters to train and equip them to take on isis and then take on bashar al-assad but we are having a very difficult time finding moderate opposition guys to train. even if we could find them, we don't have the numbers to train them by. charlie: what do we do?
mike: i don't have the answer to that. the airstrikes only take you so far. they strengthen the ground force as you go in trying to take the territory, but the airstrikes cannot take back the territory. in the way of iraqi troops and shiite militia we don't have that in syria. charlie: we will talk more about saudi arabia and the changes there, but one thing from the new crown prince and deputy crown prince seeming to be a more aggressive military posture. you see it in terms of how they view the conflict with iran. what are they prepared to do in syria to build up moderate forces to take on isis and see bashar assad removed? mike: they have been doing that
for some time. they've in providing large amounts of funding to the moderate opposition in syria. that -- the saudi's, no. what happened is big chunks of the moderate opposition left the moderate opposition to go fight for elements in isis because they were being effective against assad. the moderate opposition itself was not, so a bunch of guys stood up and said i'm going to fight for somebody who's making a difference. the moderate opposition got smaller and smaller. charlie: when i talked to american officials, you hear --
they are growing in strength. mike: they are growing in strength and they are concerning to me because they are aligned with al qaeda and pakistan. they have a group focused on attacks connected to yemen and getting sophisticated explosives. that's a serious -- back to my 9/11 concern, the stronger they get and the more they think about external attacks, the more comfortable they get, the more dangerous they are here to us in the homeland. charlie: i want to connect this to the arab spring. you write about the cia's failure to appreciate how the arab spring would play it help out. they were optimistic that somehow, this might the a wedge in the battle against terrorism and then it did not work out that way because isis and others
, al qaeda, saw an opening at the time of the arab spring and have since turned it into, some say, the arab winter including you and you think the cia should have been able to see that. mike: let me say a few things. yes, the arab spring was a huge boon to al qaeda and i have titled that chapter the al qaeda spring. we had to analytic calls to make. one was on the arab spring itself and their, we did well strategically a not so well tactically. what did we do strategically? for a number of years, our analysts were telling policymakers that pressures are building in arab societies for change. that citizens in those countries
are concerned about where the countries are going and concerned their children were not have -- will not have a better future. charlie: and they are fueled by the fact that the media told him what's going on in the rest of the world and they said to themselves, i'm in a bad place here. why haven't i done better? mike: they are getting more and more frustrated. we are covering that and in a strategic sense, we got that part right. we did not call the turning point. in tunisia, some guy sets himself on fire and starts this whole thing. what's possible is to say mr. president, the pressures are rising to unprecedented levels and we are really concerned about what's going to happen over the next six to 12 months. strategically, we called it, i would take tactically, we missed the arab spring. once the arab spring started analysts said we think is going
to spread like wildfire. they got that call right. once the arms bring started, we made another call, and this is the one you referred to. we said we think it's going to undercut al qaeda and we think is going to undercut al qaeda because this will undercut their narrative that violence is necessary for political change. charlie: why didn't it? mike: because we were wrong about that. because the arab spring created to dynamics that benefited al qaeda. the first dynamic was it made countries unwilling to take on extremists inside their borders. the best examine -- the best example is egypt and mohamed morsi. my counterparts in egypt i worked with for years still had the capabilities to deal with it inside egypt but did not feel
like they had the political top covered, so the eased off. what happened? al qaeda came back to egypt for the first time in 25 years, very quickly. charlie: as al qaeda, not the muslim brotherhood? mike: yes, and they are still there. and they have not gotten rid of them. that's how hard it is. the other dynamic is it reduced the capabilities of countries to take on extremists inside the border. the best example of that is libya. under moammar gadhafi, he was very effective at dealing with extremists inside his border. when his government fell in those institutions elkhart there was no capability anymore to deal. -- when those institutions fell apart, there is no capability to deal. the one difference i would have over the call we made is i don't
think it would have made any difference had we made the right call. i don't think it would have made any difference if we said the arab spring is going to be a boon for al qaeda, the outcome would have been exactly the same. we got the call wrong but the consequences are not that significant. charlie: there's a feeling in some quarters of the middle east that we are less relevant today and have less capacity to influence events. mike: i think we have all the capacity we need. there is a strong feeling among our allies that we are not showing the necessary leadership and we have. these are arab sunni countries, this is with the king not
humming to camp david, he sending a message. all of those countries are scared to death of iran. they are much more worried about iran than they are isis or al qaeda. they believe they can deal with isis at al qaeda effectively. they are much more worried about iran over the long-term. they see iran as a strategic threat to them. charlie: what is the threat they see? mike: they see iran wanting to dominate the region. they see iran wanting to reestablish the persian empire and trying to overthrow them. charlie: are they? is iran trying to overthrow the royal family in saudi arabia? mike: it is exactly what we saw
in yemen. charlie: the saudi's support of the government of bahrain. mike: they provided support to groups -- charlie: what is wrong with iran wanting to exert its influence? mike: you really have to remember that islamic extremism and islamic terrorism started in iran. it really began in iran. charlie: but it is mostly sunni now. mike: there are shia terrorist groups and has below is of the top of list and it would not exist without irani and support. charlie: hezbollah is part of the government and engaged in education. mike: they have a military terrorist wing. charlie: and it was utilized
well in syria. mike: yes. but iran has this same kind of you and in some ways, it's not as harsh. the same kind of view as al qaeda in terms of a religious-dominated government sharia law dominated society. and you can't forget this -- it is iranian government policy for israel to be wiped off the face of the planet. that is their stated policy by the supreme leader himself. that is not in our interest. charlie: when you look at the nuclear negotiations, do you believe part of that is the hope we can reach an agreement there, that it can build more confidence in iran to be a
greater part of the community of nations and be less aggressive in terms of trying to influence regimes in the region? mike: that's a great question. you have to go back and look at why do the iranians want a nuclear weapons capability? some people say capability, some people say they want a weapon. and they say they don't, that it is against their religion. that explain all the work you have done on nuclear weaponization. there are two reasons -- one is they believe we, the united states of america wants to overthrow the clerical regime and overthrow this particular supreme leader that we want to see full-fledged democracy in iran. charlie: do we question mark we do want to see a change in the behavior of the government. how do we get that is the question. mike: i think if you can
convince them you don't want to do those things that you could impart -- you could impart affect their thinking. but there's another reason they want a weapon or the capability which is a tool to be this hegemonic power. this desire to be the power in the middle east is not something this supreme leader just cooked up. this goes way back in iranian history. this is the way the shaw thought. this is rooted deeply in iranian history. it goes way back. charlie: were we prepared to give nuclear technology to the shah. mike: i don't know. charlie: we viewed him as our friend and someone we support.
looking at that in terms of the parties, it is clearly a sunni-shia conflict and clearly a conflict in which most of the sunnis which supported in some cases isis because they thought isis was the enemy of shia governments. is that changing on the ground? in and bar province, for example? cases where it's going to be crucial to defeating isis. mike: i think there is on the part of the iraqis there is some distance between the iraqis and other sunni states. in the case of the iraqis they are willing to allow the iranians to help wherever they can and the iranians have been very effective at taking on isis. but i think as saudi arabia, as
the united arab emirates, as jordan all look at this, when they look at iraq, they don't like the fact iranians are making a difference, so they are not willing to give the iranians a short-term when to deal with isis. they would like the iranians out of a rock and no part of this. they are more worried about iran over the long run than they are al qaeda or isis. charlie: some of the emirate countries and saudi people have said they would be happy if the israelis would destroy their nuclear capabilities. i'm sure you have heard that privately as you travel around the region. mike: yes. because of the israelis do it the people would be in the streets protesting against israel and if the u.s. did it, they would be protesting against us. charlie: do you share in the
judgment of these arab nations we have been talking about saudi arabia, the emirates, and some others that they are concerned about the president and his intent and his will against iran and against terrorist forces? are you prepared to criticize the president? mike: i am not going to criticize him because i don't know enough to. there is a perception in the middle east, this i do know there is a perception in the middle east, and the reason i'm not going to criticize is because i don't know if the perception is true. there's a perception in the middle east that the president has a view that iran might be a more natural long term partner for the united states in the middle east than the sunni arab countries. charlie: there's a perception
the president leaves that? you don't know whether he believes it or not. mike: i've never heard him say that when i was working for him. charlie: have you had anybody in this government say that? mike: not to me. charlie: nobody in the government has said they are interested in a long-term relationship with iran, but you are saying the others believe that? mike: yes. charlie: is that part of the reason king solomon is not coming to the summit? mike: i think we have to be careful because he told secretary kerry he was coming and then he said he wasn't coming. we have to be careful that this is an official snub. we may learn in a few days there are other reasons, health reasons, perhaps. charlie: the assumption would be people in the region have suggested health reasons? because of his age and health
record? mike: it's possible, but i would say there are deep concerns and saudi arabia about the united states'willingness to stand up to everything the iranians are doing. whether it's an intentional snub i don't think is as relative -- as relevant. charlie: i've heard people say the saudi's are as bad as iran is. mike: i don't believe that. saudi arabia does not practice terrorism as a tool of state graph and does not support terrorist groups. saudi arabia -- saudi arabia does not want to wipe israel off the map. charlie: you accept that's what their policy is because they say that. the iranians, to wipe israel off the face of the map. mike: and because they conduct terrorism against israel
themselves. their covert action arm. and they support hezbollah and his bowl upon stated reason for israel to go away. but both of those things together and they not only say the words, but they actually do it. charlie: and hamas as well. egypt -- how is egypt's doing? mike: i think it is doing much better than under president morsi. i think he was taking the country to ruin. i think with the egyptian military did and what the new president did is for the good of the future. charlie: what is our relationship with him? mike: i think we are over the fact that he conducted a cu. charlie: that is real politic, isn't it? mike: we were providing them
of college. i'd never been to the nations capital -- charlie: how did they invite you? mike: i got in their focus somehow. i've never in there, they're going to fly me on their dime. i'm going to say no to their job offer and go to grad school. i was 21 years old. charlie: you could never imagine you would do it every cia analyst was going to do. you are the guy who comes to the most powerful person in the world and says this is what we know in this as we learned overnight and we know this because we have operatives all over the world we know this because we listen all over the world, and we know this because we have one of the most sophisticated analytical organizations around. part of the reason you wanted to write this book is to tell us that. charlie: i wrote this book for
three reasons, charlie. one of the reasons was i'm deeply concerned about the risk the country continues to face from terrorism. i wanted to tell that story and i wanted americans to understand all of that. i wrote the book also because there are many myths out there but the cia. we are getting to what you were talking about here. one myth is that we are all powerful and we can discover any secret or stop any plot, that we are james bond. another myth is that we are incapable of doing anything right that we mess up everything we put our hands on kind of the maxwell smart view of us or the "new york times" view of us. and the third is that we are a road agency. that we are doing this stuff without any oversight from the white house or from congress. that is the kind of jason bourne
myth. the agency is incredibly dedicated people working extremely hard that gets many many things right and some things wrong. mike: getting it wrong -- charlie: getting it wrong is one thing but doing things that would not be within the american values system is another thing. we've all seen the history of the cia and the involvement in overthrow, including iran. overthrown by the cia. should the cia be doing that? mike: three missions at the cia -- one is collecting secrets of people trying to keep them from us. they are doing stuff trying to undermine us. the second is what i grew up doing -- all sorts of analysis, putting this stuff together and
telling the president how to think about the world. the third is covert action doing those kinds of things you're talking about. many things you and i have talked about at this table are covert actions. charlie: there is acceptable and unacceptable covert action. is there a line between what is acceptable and what's not acceptable? mike: we only do covert action when the president signs a piece of aber and tells us to do it. -- signs a piece of paper and tells us to do it. the president signs a piece of paper and tells us exactly what to do. that is not the cia's decision, it's the president of the united states'decision. charlie: somebody must have proposed it to the president. mike: there are two ways covert action comes about. one is the cia proposes it. best example of that is as we have talked about at this table
enhanced interrogation techniques. the cia came forward and said i think we need to do this or people are going to die. that was a cia-proposed action. the other way it happens is senior white house officials the president the national security advisor propose the covert action. and it has happened both ways in our history. no matter who proposes it, it goes through a rigorous process of policy review, legal review a presidential decision with his signature on a piece of paper and congressional oversight. usually, both committees in congress, all members, sometimes just the leadership on something particularly sensitive. that is not the cia doing something, that's america doing something. some he asked me the other day
-- charlie: so the waterboarding and all of the things that took place in the invasion against iraq, if it was done, it was america doing it? mike: some he asked me the other day what was the one thing i want people to know about enhanced interrogation techniques? i wanted them to know it was america doing it. the president approved it senior members of congress from both parties approved it, that is america's program. now let's have a conversation about it. charlie: has that conversation been had? mike: i don't think so. the truth about the program is not out there. the report of senate democrats i have very specific examples in the book where it is wrong. it is a steep we flawed
document. i wish there were a document that lays out the history and then let's have a conversation about it. charlie: how much can you tell us about postings you had? you are an analyst but you also served overseas. mike: i had to postings overseas and i cannot tell you where either was. charlie: what did they take out? mike: they took out a number of things. charlie: what kinds of things would you -- did they take out because you would not put things in there you would think they would take out. mike: i think i know where the line is between classified and unclassified, but there were a handful of things that the cia said we don't want you to say that and i would say why? they would say for these reasons. and i would say ok, i agree with you, i will take it out. charlie: did you sometimes say i
would disagree with you? mike: yes, and i won many of those arguments. anyone who would think i had it easy on needs to be told it took longer for the cia did to review it than took me to write it. charlie: we're going to talk about seymour hersh today -- he came out with a piece today saying all kinds of things. you read half of it and said these are all lies. he said the pakistanis knew where osama bin laden was. we have asked that question and we said he couldn't have been there they didn't know. mike: i believe they did not know. is it possible somebody in the isi, the pakistani cia, that the isi detachment new? that is absolutely possible. charlie: is it possible he could have been there and nobody knew? mike: it's possible but unlikely.
but that doesn't mean the pakistani government to as an institution. i don't leave that. i don't believe anybody in the senior leadership new. mike: do you believe they wanted to know? charlie: -- do you believe they wanted to know? mike: no. anytime the pakistanis talk to us about bin laden, they said he was in afghanistan. anytime we talked to the afghani's, they said he was in pakistan. charlie: mullah omar is where now? mike: i believe he is somewhere in that pakistan, afghanistan area. but there is no doubt in my mind because i talk to them. the pakistanis were deeply embarrassed by what happened. charlie: the president set you over there because they were
embarrassed about the violation of their sovereignty and they claimed they did know. mike: they were embarrassed by the fact that we found him when he was in a prominent pakistani city, in a city with their version of west point. the intelligence guys were embarrassed and the military guys were in arrest by allowing a foreign military to fly hundreds of miles of to their territory land on the ground and they have no idea what's going on. charlie: didn't they have some planes in the air? mike: only by the very end. charlie: did you talk to the chief of staff were military? mike: i talked to the general and we sat in his residence, he was the head of intelligence. charlie: what did he say? mike: for the first few minutes we looked at each other and nobody said anything. then we laughed. i knew him very well. i had interacted with him a number of times for the so we were friendly with each other.
finally we both laughed and he said do you understand what you have done to us? in terms of embarrassing us? and i said yes. understand we had no choice? do you understand alterable president said if we find him, we are going to come get him? and we worked through it. after an hour discussion, we had a very productive discussion and he took me to see the army chief of staff. charlie: what did he say? mike: we did not talk at all about the raid, just how to move forward. charlie: and he's no longer in government. mike: neither one of them are. ♪
charlie: what is the most serious critique of yourself? mike: i will give you an example. i got in trouble politically when i went with susan rice to meet with senator mccain, senator graham and senator i ought. she went to meet with them and they were criticizing her and they were threatening to walk her nomination to be secretary of state.
i went with her at the request of the white house to do one thing. charlie: your job was? this is after the tray us -- after general petraeus. mike: i was asked to do one thing only -- that what was in the cia talking point had a basis in what we were writing in the president's daily brief. that was my job. what i say in the book is that i should never have gone to that meeting. mike: you also -- charlie: you also say the cia has no business writing talking points. it's not a big thing. mike: it is because you put yourself in the middle of a huge political fight. we are a nonpartisan, a political organization and we
put ourselves in trouble when we do things like right talking points or go to political meetings on hill. charlie: what's the highlight of your career? i will give you some choices here -- being there on 9/11, being in the situation room when you realize all the effort of the cia and everybody else to bring down osama bin laden that happened. mike: i worked very closely with president bush. i think the world of him. i worked very closely with president obama and i think the world of him. the highlight of those things are when those two things came together and they came together after the bin laden raid and they came together two weeks after when president obama asked me to fly to dallas and brief president bush on the bin laden operation. i took with me the lead analyst
and i took with me the lead military operator and we briefed the president for two hours. charlie: this briefing took place -- mike: in dallas. on the intelligence side everything on the operational side. he was like a kid in a candy store. he wanted to know everything. charlie: because he lived with it. mike: yes, and he will live it every day for the rest of his life. at the end of that to our briefing, he gave me one of his commander-in-chief points that are collectors item. he gave me one and shook my hand and i felt closure for the first time since i was with him on 9/11. that moment which brought together both 9/11 with president bush and may 1 with president obama, that was the highlight. charlie: did anybody seriously
believe there was a connection between al qaeda and saddam hussein? dick cheney suggested -- mike: he did. but one of the things i don't do in the book is i say what people did and what they said and i don't try to analyze their motivation. that is very dangerous doing that. i don't know what he was thinking but i'm speculating out -- i think dick cheney beard there was a connection. i think he feared there was a connection. there's this idea of the 1% -- if there's a 1% chance, we have to act. charlie: did you think there was a connection? mike: as i talk about in the book, there was this time when we thought mohammed atta might
have met with an intelligence officer -- charlie: he was the leader that went in to the world trade center. mike: the lead hijacker. he organized the whole thing. we thought we found a connection and we had to run that down. at that moment, we thought there might be a connection, but by the time we worked through all of that, we didn't. charlie: did dick cheney ever say -- mike: i don't think he's ever stood up and said there's no connection. what of the things i want to say, charlie is that i do critique a few people in addition to myself. charlie: you critique yourself when you talk about benghazi and talking points. not i was there and i've dreamed up this idea and it turned out to be silly and stupid. mike: i have plenty of those.
charlie: or worse, part of the analysis that said this was going to happen and it didn't happen. mike: i was part of the team that said the japanese economy was going to continue to grow at a rapid pace in the 90's and they were going to take over the world and boom. [laughter] so this is a great question. this is something we actually monitor. every judgment we give the president of the united states we look at a year later and say were we right, were we wrong, or do we know yet? we are right about 70% of the time and 30% of the time we are either wrong or we don't know if we are right or wrong. that's not a dad batting average on very difficult issues. charlie: you said george bush was very smart and handled decision-making well. you said barack obama was very
very smart, was a vigorous and trying to get every opinion on the table, but you think you fear he took too long to make a decision? mike: i think they are polar opposites of each other. both smart, president bush great gut instinct i think on intelligence and policy. very quick to make decisions. some people say too quick. charlie: what is too quick and one is too slow. mike: president obama wants to be thorough and ask everybody's opinion and will say he is too slow. there are advantages to moving quickly and advantages to waiting too long. i don't want to criticize one or the other. you are who you are and your strengths -- charlie: what about dick cheney? mike: deeply committed to the
national security of the united states. if you watch cable news and you watch these politicians go after each other on cable news one of the impressions you get is that there are politicians and decision-makers who don't care about the country and have their own interests at stake. there is not a single person i worked with, not a senior single person i worked with in the bush administration or in the obama missed ration who did not care deeply -- the obama administration who did not care about the national purity and protecting that national security. they had different views on how to do it. charlie: that seems to me -- of course they should he. i hope we don't have anybody in the government is not interested in the tech think the national security -- mike: but there are people out
there who believe otherwise about barack obama and they say it, and they are wrong. charlie: but i believe that to -- you may make mistakes and they may be serious mistakes and you may have values that work against whatever they may be but i think you care about doing the right thing. charlie: yes. -- mike: yes. i've never met anyone who puts their own political interest above national security. charlie: how old are you? mike: i am 56. charlie: when will you serve in government again? mike: some but he asked me if this is an audition and my answer was i criticize republicans on and ghazi, i criticize democrats on enhanced interrogation techniques and i criticize myself on a handful of
issues. it's not an audition. charlie: you have a very good life. mike: and i come on your show all the time. charlie: you do, because -- someone said to me there's a reason you were considered the best briefer that ever handled that job anybody speak clearly and precisely in a way you could understand it. but my point is you are 56 years old, you have a wealth of experience, you deeply care about the country, i would argue that you probably think this time in the cia was the highlight of your life outside your family? mike: yes. charlie: that is a powerful pull. mike: two things. the country has never faced as many national security issues as we face today. i think in history of the
country just in terms of sheer numbers. and the second thing is those issues, all of them are intelligence issues, meaning you can't understand them, you can't make policy, you can't carry out that policy without intelligence. anyone can give you an opinion about who is up and who is down in the chinese communist party but not just anybody can tell you where the iranian nuclear program is or where a nuclear missile system is. it is very, very important to the future of the country and i understand that. that means you have to have an intelligent agency that is the best it can possibly be and gets the resources it needs. charlie: the book is called “the great war of our time: the cia's fight against terrorism from al qa'ida to isis.” it is also the story of mike morell and his time in the cia. thank you for joining us.